What do you do with a new mind?

What are the things that mostly fill your thoughts and meditations in moments of silence, or when waiting for the bus, or when riding your bike through Aalborg, or when you simply look out your window for no reason?

Don Delillo, the american writer, in his novel Libra, writes this beautiful sentence thatStop-Thinking contains a vivid image of people not thinking of anything while waiting for the subway: “People stood on local platforms staring nowhere, a look they’d been practicing for years.” Are you like that, are you “staring nowhere“? What are you thinking of?

What is the life our minds? What does it do? What does it “feed” on? What does it delight in? Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:7 – “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”

One of the effects the new birth has on our lives is the renewal of our minds: Romans 12:2 – “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind”. What do you do with a new mind? Paul answers this question for us in Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

So dear brothers and sisters in Christ, THINK over the Word of God, think over what Paul says (just like he tells Timothy to do) because through your thinking over it the Lord will give you understanding of it. And if our minds have been renewed, and were cleansed by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 9:14 – “how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience“) think of the things that God wants you to think of, delight in the things God wants you to delight in, and want the things God wants – namely His glory.

Glorify God with your mind and your thoughts too!

 

Idolatry

Leszek Kolakowski, the Polish philosopher, in one of his essays, entitled, “Why a calf? Idolatry and death of God, wrote that “we are sacrificing God on the altar of our own selfish interests, as if we were worshiping ourselves instead of Him.” 

Jeroboam's_Idolatry_(Bible_card)Idolatry is on the one hand very comfortable and on the other, very dangerous.

Firstly, I say comfortable because of a cluster of things – easy access, as it were, to the act in itself – can be done any time, any place; then there is the easiness with which the heart is inclined to do it; and also the imediacy of its reward – somekind of fleeting sentimental pleasure that boosts the mood of the “worshiper” – which is actually of a more complex nature than I have the space and time here to expand on).

Secondly, I say dangerous, based on two things:

1. For the disastrous exchange of the worshiped person: we replace God with ourselves, or some man made thing.

2. For what David says in Psalm 115:4-8

“Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see.
They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell.
They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk;
and they do not make a sound in their throat.
Those who make them BECOME LIKE THEM; so do all who trust in them.”
[Psalm 115:4-8]

Idolatry has https://www.acheterviagrafr24.com/achat-viagra-en-ligne-quebec/ the power to make us mute, blind, and unable to feel or move, just like the idol we worship, which in itself has no powers at all. Mute and blind towards the real God. Unable to feel or move – feel Him and move/act according to His guidance.

These comforts and these dangers show how easily can a heart be deceived. We see this in the book of Judges, where the text talks about Israel doing evil in the eyes of the Lord. Judges 3:7 says – “The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord; they forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs.” What was the evil? Forgetting God and serving idols.

In Galatians 5:19-20 Paul writes – “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, IDOLATRY, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

So the question is: how do we keep ourselves from idolatry? John writes in his first letter: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” (1 John 5:21) Yes, but how?

Paul gives us the answer in Galatians 5:16-17 – “walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”

Therefore, on Sunday, in celebrating Pentecost, we celebrate the Spirit that helps us put to death any desires for idolatry, any desires to put ourselves in the place of God, any desires for “sacrificing God on the altar of our own selfish interests.”

“Do not be conformed to this world”, be conformed to Christ.

In Judges 4&5, the process of the “canaanization of Israel” is in full development. Instead of obeying the Lord, the people of Israel embrace the idolatrous culture and continu9781908762887e to do evil in the eyes of their Lord. This “friendship with the world” will lead in the end to the famous, but sad, last verse of the book “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in their own eyes.”

Reading this, it is hard not to hear ringing again and again in your ears James’s question: “don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God?” (James 4:4)

Here, in these two chapters also, the focus on the sovereignty of God is unmissable.

v.2 – “the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan”

v.7 – “I will draw out Sisera”

v.14 – “this is the day in which the LORD has given Sisera into your hand. Does not the LORD go out before you?”

v.15 – “the LORD routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army before Barak by the edge of the sword”

v.23 – “on that day God subdued Jabin the king of Canaan before the people of Israel”

This time, God appoints a prophetess to judge the people. But her duty is different from that of Othniel, Ehud or Shamgar. Deborah, the prophetess, comes to summon a leader. She is not a ruler, or a military leader, she is not responsible for leading the nation. What she does is find the one who is supposed to lead Israel to war. Deborah, as a prophetess, plays the role of an intermediary between God and the people, which leads Barack in v.8 to say: “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” He agrees to lead the people, but with the condition of having the Lord with him, through Deborah.

There are many ways of looking at and studying the book of Judges. One of them is to look at the things that the Lord wants to teach His people and the people are simply blind to it. In verse 14 Deborah says to Barak: “this is the day in which the LORD has given Sisera into your hand.” Here, one of the things that God is trying to teach the people is His grace, the undeserved gift from God. If you look closely Deborah uses past tense in addressing Barak – “the Lord has given”. The Lord has already, by grace, given the enemy in his hand, before he even went to battle. Isn’t that an encouragement? Rejoice, because by the same grace of God we are victorious today.

The accounts of chapters 4 and 5 are relevant for us today in several ways:

  1. The way in which God uses Deborah in the life of His people should be an inspiration for all christian women today – to put their life in http://www.achaten-suisse.com/ God’s service and serve boldly and joyfully.
  2. In the way in which God is not bound by context or culture – the so called “canaanazation of Israel” is not something that holds God at bay. He sovereignly and gracefully accomplishes His will in the life of His people, for His own glory and honor.
  3. In chapter 5 (which is a poetic retelling of the account in chapter 4) in verse 16 we are told –  “Among the clans of Reuben there were great searchings of heart”. This great searchings of the heart is something that should characterize us all, christians, today. It should be a discipline put in practice through prayer and meditation on God’s word, through repentance of sin and through turning to God, our Lord, and obeying His commands.
  4. One of the things that is extremely relevant for us today, and it is also one of the reasons why in Koinonia we choose to study the book of Judges, is this aspect of not being “conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:2). Our threat is not called canaanazation, but the ungodly culture and the idols are just as prominent as then. Today, very much like in the time of Judges, everyone is doing what is right in their own eyes. As christians we are called to be salt and light in the world and in the culture and context where we live, so that Christ can shine brightly through us. By doing that we are called to not identify ourselves with the world, but to present and talk about our identity in Christ. So,  … “Do not be conformed to this world”, be conformed to Christ.

Why Koinonia believes in the importance of testimonies

In a short biographical work on Robert Murray M’Cheyne, the Scottish preacher (who died at 29), Andrew Bonar, wrote this about him: “His preaching was in a manner the development of his soul’s experience. It was a giving out of the inward life.”

In Koinonia, during ouovercomingstereotypesourtestimonyr weekly service, we have a time dedicated to Testimonies, or, as we sometimes call it, Sharing your story. During this time we invite people to share with the fellowship what God has done in their lives during the week. We also encourage them to share prayer requests, answered prayers, the joys and the sorrows of their walk

with Christ – in a city like Aalborg, especially for a student who believes in Christ, who loves Christ and pursues holiness, the challenges are many.

So … why does Koinonia believe that this is an important time during the service, and why do we do it?

In 1 Thesallonians 5:11 Pauls says: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” The author of Hebrews says in Hebrews 10:24: “… let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works …” Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:26: “When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.” Paul again in Romans 14:19: ” … let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” Or Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Koinonia, just like Paul and the author of Hebrews, believes in the mutual upbuilding of the members in the body. We believe, that as professing christians, we all have something to share. We believe in the power of encouragement and in the strength that is contained in stirring up one another to love and good works.

Just as Andrew Bonar was writing about Robert Murray M’Cheyne, we believe that what we share with one another are the riches of our soul, the riches that Christ has laid there, through his Word and His Spirit. It is from our “inward life” that we share, from the soul’s experience, as Bonar called it. It is out of the riches of our heart that we speak, that we encourage, that we bring a word to our brothers and sisters.

Koinonia believes in the importance of testimonies because they open hearts and minds, they move the affections to new territories, make us acknowledge challenges that we have not yet encountered, or joys that we have also, so vividly, experienced, testimonies remind us that we are not alone, and that we should not be alone. Only iron can sharpen iron, and so we are reminded that we need to be sharpened. We are reminded in new ways of the grace of God and His love. We are reminded that even though challenges are many, we are to rejoice in the midst of them. Testimonies should stir us to pray more. They should stir us to think of others more. They should push us to speak to each other more, and more often. And, since I mentioned the inner riches, testimonies should make us enrich our souls with grace and Word so that we would be stewards, good stewards for others of these riches of Christ. Testimonies are one of the best tools to point the eyes of brothers and sisters towards the cross and towards heaven.

Probably the words to best describe the weight and the importance of testimonies in Koinonia are found in what Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 2:8 :

“… being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” 

So, we invite you every Sunday, at 17:00 o’clock, at Karmel Baptistkirken, Petersborgvej 35B, to come and Share your story.

Do you wake up FREE every morning?

freedomlights“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave[b] to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

70 years ago, on May 5th, Danes woke up to freedom from under the German occupation. Last night, in our family, we lit candles in the windows to remember this freedom. In this I was reminded of these verses, that talk about the true freedom, the freedom that Jesus offers us, freedom from sin that weighs us down, freedom from anxiety, from worry, from addictions like alcohol, food, medications.

Waking up this morning, I was thinking about how the Danes must have felt waking up to freedom from under the Nazi occupation. But in my mind I quickly thought of today. Do we wake up FREE every morning, free from the power of sin in our lives?

Today, I know that I don’t have to turn to food for comfort, but to Jesus who is the supreme comforter!

What about you, whoever you are?  To whom or to what do you turn instead of Jesus? It might not be food, but there surely is something. Will the truth about FREEDOM, a truth that is all over the Bible, fill my heart and mind, and feed my soul, or will it be the lies of Satan?

In Colossians 3:13-15 Paul says :
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

My prayer for all of us is that we would be Alive and Free today and everyday. May the candles we light in our window remind us of the true and precious freedom we find in Jesus Christ and the hope he offers. And may we in turn share this treasure with everyone, the treasure of true FREEDOM from sin through Christ.

” … if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

Book of Judges start off – introduction (1:1-3:6)

Dear all,

Today we have started our series in the Book of Judges. The theme of the passage (1:1 – 3:6) that introduces the book is a sad one: how the people of God fail to fully obey their God.

1399168202288.cachedThe first words in the book – “After the death of Joshua ” are identifying the historical time in which the Book of Judges takes place. The people of God are still fighting their enemies. The conquest of Cannan is still in process.

There

are several important points in this passage that we should not miss:

Our ideas are never better then (not even comparable to) God’s plan – the tribes don’t drive out their enemies, but put them to forced labour. Pride, lack of faith, disobedience, they all drive us to think that we are wiser than we actually are, or that we can compete with God in deciding what is better for us.

Disobedience has consequences – God speaks to the people through an angel, announcing that their disobedience will lead to their enemies being a constant “thorn” in their side, and that their idols will be a trap for them (heart and mind). The one thing that still puzzles an unrepentant heart, today, is the consequence of its sin, and it cries just like the people of Israel wept when they heard what the angel said.

Teaching the next generation about God is vital – after the death of Joshua there came a generation of people that did not know the Lord or his work (2:10). The next verse starts like this: “And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals”. Not knowing God leads to sin, to evil, to suffering, to sorrow. And not only that but not knowing the true God leads a heart to serve fake gods, idols.

In the passage 2:16 – 2:20 – we are given a description of how the dynamics between God and his people will develop throughout the book:

  • God saves His people through judges, but they turn to idols to worship;
  • Stubbornness and corruption characterize their hearts
  • The anger of God is kindled through constant covenant breaking

God is sovereign – 2:21 – 3:6 – God is using the enemies that were not driven out to test and teach the new generation. God is not taken by surprise by anything. At the same time God is merciful, and faithful, and in control of everything.

All these things are extremely relevant today, in a world where obedience is not seen as a virtue, but as a sign of weakness and lack of identity, lack of power and strength.

By His grace, God had planned that at one point in

history a judge would come in, strip himself of all power, and become obedient to the point of death, a one and only judge, one that would sacrifice Himself for all the idol-worshipers, for all the stone-hearted, for all the covenant-breakers, for you and me, namely His son, Jesus Christ.

One of the most important things that Jesus preached throughout his earthly ministry was this: “repent and believe” (Mark 1:15). There is no faith without repentance, and there is no true and full obedience without faith.